ATHENS, Ga. (2/19/14) – Two school-record times fueled the University of Kentucky swimming and diving team to a strong first day at the 2014 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships Tuesday at Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium.
The Wildcats, who are in sixth place in the men’s standings and tied for seventh in the women’s rankings, broke the school record twice in the men’s 200 medley relay and in the women’s 800 freestyle relay by nearly six seconds.
“It was a great start, I’m really pleased with today,” first-year head coach Lars Jorgensen said. “Two new school records, which is phenomenal for us. It was a real team effort, everyone stepped up and performed well. We have a long way to go, this is day one of five, but it’s great to get off to a good start, I’m really pleased with their efforts.”
UK wasted no time making its presence known in Athens, Ga., with a school-record 1:25.57 in the men’s 200 medley relay time trials.
In the very first race of the 2014 championship, UK finished first and claimed an NCAA A qualifying time in the process while posting the third fastest time in the NCAA this season. Senior Lucas Gerotto, junior George Greenhalgh, and seniors Eric Bruck and Chris Lott beat out LSU in the time trial race.
In the finals, the relay team topped its own time with a 1:25.43 to win their heat. However, the second heat of the timed finals produced five times faster, which put UK sixth in the final results. Florida finished first, in 1:24.53, the top time in the NCAA this season.
A second program record time fell in the women’s 800 freestyle relay, by nearly six seconds.
In the second heat of the timed finals, the Wildcats sat in eighth place, but a strong third leg by junior Abby Myers in 1:46.47, the fastest UK split by nearly a second, vaulted UK into seventh and just out of sixth place. Freshman Danielle Galyer kept the momentum going and came within 0.02 seconds of catching sixth-place Auburn. Kentucky finished in 7:10.59 and earned an NCAA B qualifying time. Junior Kristen Wilson and freshman Kendal Casey swam first and second for the Wildcats.
Year-in and year-out one diving is one of UK’s strongest events, and on the first day of the 2014 championships, this season was no different.
Along with fourth-place finishes by Cabot and Ferrucci, senior John Fox advanced to the finals and finished eighth in the 3-meter event, while junior Lindsay Keahey finished 20th in the 1-meter competition to add to UK’s point total.
Cabot, a junior, scored a 296.65 in the prelims to advance to the 1-meter finals. She entered the finals in sixth place, but a 316.20 pushed her into fourth, just 4.30 points shy of earning her first SEC medal. Cabot finished fourth at the conference championships for the second time in her career after she placed fourth last year on platform.
Ferrucci entered the finals in fourth after a 369.80 in the prelims. The senior improved his score by over 40 points for a 412.60 finals score. He finished 3.85 points out of third place. Fox’s 343.45 in the finals came after a 347.55 in the prelims.
In the women’s 200 yard medley relay, Kentucky finished ninth in 1:39.42. Just shy of an NCAA B qualifying time, UK beat tenth-place Vanderbilt by nearly three seconds. Junior Christina Bechtel, freshman Kendal Crew, Myers and Wilson swam for UK in the first swimming event of the evening finals.
The final event of the day was the men’s 800 freestyle relay, where UK placed 10th in 6:30.61. Senior Will Heidler, sophomore Scott Crosthwaite, senior Lucas Gerotto and freshman Chris Grimmett-Norris comprised UK’s relay team.
The five-day SEC Championships continue Wednesday with the 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay and the men’s 1-meter dive. Prelims commence at 10 a.m. ET, while the finals begin at 6 p.m. The diving prelims begin at 1 p.m.
Fans can follow along with all the action from the University of Georgia with live results of every competition and a live video stream of the finals at GeorgiaDogs.com.For complete news and updates on the Kentucky Swimming and Diving program, go to UKathletics.com/SwimmingDiving. Breaking news, behind-the-scenes updates, photos and more can be found on Twitter at @UKSwimDive and Facebook at Facebook.com/UKSwimDive.
Information provided by Charlie Healy
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